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HQ 115130

October 26, 2000

VES-13-18:RR:EC:IT 115130 LLO


David Callahan
United States Customs Service
District Director
555 Battery Street, Room 107
San Francisco, CA 94105

RE: Vessel Repair; Duty Remission; Duty Refund; Casualty Occurrence; 19 USC §1466 (d); 19 CFR §4.14; Entry No. C27-0171375-5

We received your request for remission of customs duty for Item 1 which includes the cost of emergency repairs to the main engine of the Sea-Land Express V289. The decision regarding the remission of these duties follows.


The Sea-Land Express departed from the United States on March 3, 2000; on March 10, 2000 the vessel developed an air cooler leak that began filling up the bilge tank while on the way to Japan; the chief engineer noted that the failure of the air cooler was due to excessive erosion and electrolysis of over 50% of cooling tubes in the main engine cooler; repair of the failed cooling tubes in the air cooler took place in Japan on March 12, 2000 and in Korea on March 27, 2000. A request for relief was timely filed on June 7, 2000.


Title 19, United States Code, section 1466(a), provides in pertinent part for payment of duty in the amount of 50% ad valorem on the cost of foreign repairs to vessels documented under the laws of the United States to engage in the foreign or coastwise trade, or vessels intended to be employed in such trade.

The vessel repair statute provides for the remission of duties in those instances where good and sufficient evidence is furnished to show that foreign repairs were compelled by “stress of weather or other casualty” and were necessary to secure the safety and seaworthiness of the vessel to enable her to reach her port of destination. 19 U.S.C. §1466(d)(1). The term “casualty” as it is used in the statute, has been interpreted as something that, like stress of weather, comes with unexpected force or violence, such as fire, explosion or collision. Dollar Steamship Lines Inc. v. United States, 5 Cust. Ct. 23, 28-29, C.D. 362 (1940). In the absence of evidence of such a casulty causing event, we must consider the repair to have been necessitated by normal wear and tear. C.S.D. 89-95, 23 Cust. B. & Dec. No. 43, 4, 5 (1989).

In this case the petitioner has failed to present any evidence of some extrinsic force or event constituting a casualty under the statute.


Following a thorough review of the facts as well as an analysis of the law and applicable precedents, we have determined to deny relief of the vessel operator as discussed in the Law and Analysis portion of this ruling.


Larry L. Burton
Entry Procedures and Carrier Branch

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